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How to Live Dangerously: The Hazards of Helmets, the Benefits of Bacteria, and the Risks of Living Too Safe

3.85  ·  Rating Details  ·  96 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
Afraid of flying? Forty percent of Americans are. Yet you'd have to fly every day for the next 26,000 years to assure yourself of dying in a crash. A leisurely canoe ride is more than 100 times deadlier.

Think city streets are unsafe? You're more likely to come to harm in your own home, where every year you stand a 1 in 650 chance of being injured by your bed, mattress,
Paperback, 161 pages
Published May 26th 2009 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published June 20th 2008)
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(showing 1-30 of 234)
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Apr 15, 2012 Mister rated it it was amazing
Shelves: five-star
I tend to think that the books I read are mostly esoteric. This one is an exception. This book should be read by most of my fellow Americans, especially the ones that are drunk with fear in our panic-driven society.
Though the book is short, Warwick Cairns manages to write an impression-stamping book warning readers of the dangers of fear and trying to set things in perspective. He does a great job, especially whenever he discusses the relative dangers of any given activity, such as the notion th
Jan 25, 2013 Syafiqa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love it! Makes you rethink about safety and human preceptions. We don't take responsibility of our own safety - so when a woman sued McDonald after she put a cup of hot coffee on her lap in the car and spilled, she won?! Authorities make all sorts of regulations to keep people safe. Most amazingly...the Dutch has proven through experiments that in order to make roads has to be made more dangerous (we really should consider that for our roads!)! reading this. :) Recommende ...more
Jan 28, 2012 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would have given this 5* but for the evolutionary speculation about the structure and function of the brain came to be and this from the author of the blog post An Atheist’s Guide to Lucky Pigs []! I think the sheer unlikeliness of this explanation of humans so unlikely that I can safely ignore it.
The rest of the book is excellent. One reviewer has described it as a rant but a rant is what is needed. The point does need to be made repeatedly and what is that point? We have
Jan 22, 2011 Erin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This book was Cairns rant about how society is going down the tube because fear had overtaken our lives. While he makes some good points and uses many examples to back uo his claims, the book gets tiresome. Pretty much this is his soapbox and it is one long rant against everything causing fear from kidnapping to fast food to death. He discusses how everyone sues everyone else and how likely we are to die from something. It read too much like a rant.
Jan 16, 2016 Kristina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We live in an increasingly paranoid world. This book takes a look at why that's happened. Essentially, the animal part of our brain reacts to media reports of kidnappings etc as if they were happening within our pack group, not as distant events. Hence we are paranoid our children will be abducted. A good read for the curious.
Feb 05, 2014 Marshal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. Cairns paints a sobering picture of our society full of cowards and busybodies including everything from unnecessary regulations to overbearing (well meaning) parents. We find fear in things that are safe and inadvertently find safety in more dangerous options. If this book taught me anything, it is that humans are not instinctively good at assessing risk.

This is a great and quick read that may open your eyes to a world that is not quite as dangerous as you first thou
Good book - mostly reinforced a lot of ideas I was already familiar with. A bit on the short side for the cost.
Aug 31, 2009 Kathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting information about the science of fear. Insight into why we are afraid of things that aren't really dangerous, and not afraid of things that are actually dangerous. Good insight about "helicopter" parenting, how it creates a false sense of security and doesn't prepare kids to understand and react to real danger. Written with a sense of humor. Reminds me a bit of Malcolm Gladwell.
Jan 20, 2014 Becky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very thought provoking and worthwhile read!
May 06, 2010 Susan rated it really liked it
This was a fun, quick read that reminds me of what ought to be common sense: anything taken to an extreme is unsafe, even "safety." We're better of just living our lives (and allowing our kids to do so) without constantly worrying about whether our activities, homes, etc. are "safe."
Kevin Hale
Sep 03, 2011 Kevin Hale rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read
Loved this book! Points out how our hyper-safety consciousness is inconsistent and overrated. Example: More kids suffer head injuries falling off of playground equipment versus falling off a bike, but we never make our kids wear helmets on their swing-sets.
Sep 12, 2008 Annie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a quick easy read, full of common sense with interesting insights into how our perceptions of what is safe or dangerous vary from the actual risks.
I recommend it as an aid to getting things into perspective.
Jul 12, 2011 Adele rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2000-2009
How to Live Dangerously gives you a different view on how we live. It actually makes what we think of as normal seem funny and somewhat stupid/foolish. A fantastic non-fiction book.
Autumn Bruner
Jul 11, 2013 Autumn Bruner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I really enjoyed this book, and I think everyone should read it. We're all way too worried about stuff that shouldn't worry us, and not nearly worried enough about stuff that should.
Michelle Freeland
Jan 09, 2011 Michelle Freeland rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of the writing was a little smarmy, but overall I liked the concept and appreciated a new perspective on what is truly dangerous.
Jul 07, 2013 Jeckthing rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Through this book, you may find the irony of being safe as perceived by the majority.
Nov 09, 2008 Andrew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Andrew by: No-one
A refreshing read.

Link to a video review of this book: soon.
Oct 20, 2010 Kiersten rated it it was amazing
This was fun! Funny, enlightening. Puts things in perspective.
Stefano Pini
Jul 28, 2013 Stefano Pini rated it liked it
Always ride your bike to work!
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